Red Hydrogen phone gets a video preview: It’s big—very big
Many were confused earlier in July when Red, makers of ultra high-end 4K and 8K cameras for Hollywood, announced it was making an Android smartphone.
Dubbed Red Hydrogen, the phone’s substantial $1,595 price tag was accompanied by all manner of lofty promises about shattering “the mould of conventional thinking” and “nanotechnology.” The phone supposedly had a “holographic” display, too.
Perhaps sensing some of that confusion, Red has revealed a little more about Red Hydrogen via the channel of premier tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee. While Brownlee was only able to take a look at a handful of prototypes—and even then, he couldn’t show off the holographic display—his video gives us a far better idea of what the phone looks like, and what it might do for photographers. I suspect, however, the first thing most people will notice is that the Red Hydrogen is freaking massive.
Sporting a 5.7-inch display, the “fit and finish” sample wielded by Brownlee has chunky top and bottom bezels along with a unique grip-like design that bulks out the sides of the phone. This is not a device for people with small hands, or at least those who would prefer to use a phone one-handed. Then again, it’s likely Red is chasing a certain niche, as shown by the heavy duty industrial design that mixes a pinstriped metal section on the rear flanked by two kevlar panels to allow antennae signals to filter through while maintaining durability.
Apparently, anyone interested in the Red Hydrogen shouldn’t be too disheartened by the relatively mundane-looking camera module on the back of the phone. This is, according to Red, a placeholder for the real unit. Elsewhere there are volume up and down buttons on the left, and a power button and dedicated camera button on the right. The pins on the bottom of the phone are used for modular add-ons, much like the Moto Z range. However, if the example unit is anything to go by, these will be some serious add-ons.
This prototype added a new camera unit to the phone, sporting some likely superior optics. Red bragged that the Hydrogen is “the future of small form factor cinema” and that its “quality should only really be surpassed by Red’s bigger cameras.” What’s not immediately clear is whether Red means that the internal camera will be that good, or whether users will have to fork out for a bulky add-on to reach that quality.
While Brownlee didn’t showcase the holographic display—which, if it works like the autostereoscopic 3D display for a 3DS, wouldn’t have translated well to a 2D YouTube video—he came away impressed with the technology. But those hoping for more details on the internals of the phone are out of luck for now: apparently, we’ll hear more later in the year. Still, at over $1,500 (probably ~£1,500), anything less than the absolute best would be disappointing.
Those interested can pre-order the Red Hydrogen now, although, I’d suggest waiting a little longer for some more concrete specs and features before splashing the cash.